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Murderer’s Row of creators sink their teeth into ‘American Vampire Anthology’

AV_ANTHOLOGY-tease

While American Vampire is currently on hiatus, creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have killed time until its return by releasing various specials. Earlier this summer we saw The Long Road to Hell, and this past Wednesday brought the American Vampire Anthology, featuring vampire tales by Becky Cloonan, Francesco Francavilla, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Jason Aaron, Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon, Jeff Lemire, John Paul Leon, Declan Shalvey and many more.

Anthologies can be hit or miss from story to story, but how did this one do? Here are a few reviews from around the web:

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Rucka, Lark rise again with ‘Lazarus’ — how is the first issue?

lazarus1-tease

Two of Gotham Central‘s finest, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, have reunited on Lazarus, a new series from Image Comics. Along with colorist Santi Arcas, the duo’s creator-owned series focuses on Forever, the “Lazarus,” or protector, of the Carlyle family.

Lazarus is the story of Forever Carlyle, a genetically engineered young woman and the youngest daughter of the Carlyle family. Her family is one of about 30-odd ruling families left on Earth in a dystopian future where economic collapse has made the difference between the haves and the have-nots so stark, the world has almost returned to a feudal state. She is essentially a member of a royal family,” Rucka told Comic Book Resources. “
As a family’s Lazarus, she is responsible for the protection and defense of the family, hence her nature. That’s why she is the way she is. It’s a very dark, very unpleasant world if you have nothing. The best you can hope for is that maybe a family will find a use for in some way and that they’ll educate you, train you and elevate you to a service class. The other families are very jealous of what they have. They covet what they don’t have and go to great lengths to make sure that the status-quo is maintained.”

So how is the first issue? Here are a few thoughts on it from around the web:

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‘They just won’t give him the time of day’

lady sabre“The Big Two don’t like Rick’s work. It’s as simple as that. In the last ten years, he’s gone from being able to work steadily at Marvel Comics and DC Comics to not being able to get hired. They just won’t give him the time of day.

Rick is one of the most accomplished artists I’ve ever worked with. He’s known primarily for winning Eisners doing Batman & Robin Adventures where Rick himself says that he was paid to draw like Bruce Timm. So, I think for a lot of people there is a sense that he’s too cartoony, his style doesn’t fit in with what the big two want; it’s not sexy or flashy enough. He has a very distinct comic book style, he doesn’t do photo-realistic. Everything he draws, he can draw it. It’s not light-boxing here.

I know at least one editor who went to great lengths to make sure he wouldn’t work at one company and really set him up to fail and did so gleefully. Comics are like any other industry; there are wonderful people in it and there are crappy people in it.”

Greg Rucka, discussing his collaborator, and longtime friend, Rick Burchett, and their reasons
for taking the online route with 
Lady Sabre & the Pirates of Ineffable Aether

Grumpy Old Fan | Filling out Wonder Woman’s backlist

"... And isn't it about time you reprinted this storyline?"

“… And isn’t it about time you reprinted this storyline?”

Last month DC Comics announced it had put together a new list of “essential” graphic novels and collections, designed to help casual readers and completists alike. This week I picked up a copy of the 121-page catalog (Issue 1, of course) along with my regular Wednesday haul.

Now, we all love lists, and this looks to be more comprehensive than the 30-item Jeph Loeb-heavy suggestions DC had previously offered.  Could the new DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2013 actually represent the depth and breadth of DC’s vast publishing history, and at least try to give each major character the attention he or she deserved?

Well …

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but judging from the two pages devoted to “Women of DC Comics,” the answer doesn’t look promising for said women. As Sue (of DC Women Kicking Ass) and Bleeding Cool have already pointed out, Green Arrow and the Flash both get two-page spreads (each, to be fair, split between a one-page portrait and a one-page checklist), while Wonder Woman has to share two pages with Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman and the Huntress. Although the DC Entertainment Essential Graphic Novels and Chronology 2013 could use more female-centric titles (no Power Girl, Manhunter, Stephanie Brown or Cass Cain Batgirl, or Stars and STRIPE, and not a lot of Supergirl), today it may be enough just to focus on Wonder Woman.

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Rucka & Burchett launch Kickstarter for ‘Lady Sabre’ collection

lady sbre

For nearly two years, Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett the high-flying adventures of Lady Seneca Sabre in their twice-weekly webcomic, and now they’re looking to bring their special blend of steampunk, magic and the Wild West to print. To that end, the duo has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish the first five chapters of Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether in a 192-page hardcover collection.

Mere hours into the drive and they’re nearly halfway toward the $27,500 they need to pay for their initial 2,000-copy print run, plus shipping, Kickstarter fees, etc. So odds are, this project is going to get funded. Their pledge tiers a pretty reasonable, too, which may help to explain the campaign’s speedy progress; for instance, $30 gets you a copy of the book. Additional incentives include keychains, bookplates, an inscription from Brian Michael Bendis, and dinner at HeroesCon with the creators.

There’s a lot more information on the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends June 5.

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Quote of the Day | Greg Rucka on a PG-13 ‘Man of Steel’

man of steel-cavill

“Words like ‘realism’ and ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ get bandied about Hollywood as if the only merit a story can have is in its verisimilitude, but that’s a lie. Emotional honesty transcends reality; it’s what allows disbelief to be suspended, and yet what makes a story stay true. When Superman: The Movie was released, Richard Donner promised us we’d believe a man could fly. We did, but it wasn’t the wire-work alone.”

– comics writer and novelist Greg Rucka, voicing his misgivings about the PG-13 rating for director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel

Steinbeck, Poe and Moench: Six questions with Greg Rucka

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Stepping up to the wheel today is Greg Rucka, the prolific and wonderful writer of Stumptown, Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, Whiteout, Queen & Country, Punisher, Gotham Central and the upcoming Lazarus with Michael Lark and Santiago Arcas, which is due from Image this summer.

Now let’s get to it …

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Food or Comics? | Yogurt or Young Avengers

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Young Avengers #1

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, it’d be all first issues, all the time. Being a Trek fan, I couldn’t resist IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 ($3.99), offering some glimpses into the new movie for the first time outside of the trailer, for one thing. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers #1 (Marvel, $2.99) looks to be equally unmissable judging from both the previews and interviews heralding its launch, and also Gillen’s performance on Iron Man and other titles recently, so that’d make it in there, too. Finally, I’d grab The Answer #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton’s new superhero/mystery series. I’ve been back and forth about Hopeless in the past (loved his X-Men: Season One; hate his Avengers Arena), but the hook for this one looks pretty solid and Norton’s work is always nice to gaze at.

Should I suddenly find myself with an additional $15, I’d add some current favorites to the pile: Chris Roberson and Dennis Calero’s pulp dystopia Masks #3 (Dynamite, $3.99), Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena’s Avengers #3 (Marvel, $3.99, and less a “favorite” than an “undecided about, but was surprised by how much I appreciated that second issue”) and Greg Rucka and Matt Southworth’s Stumptown #5 (Oni, $3.99). After the fourth issue of Stumptown, I’d pick that last one up even if Rucka had accidentally forgotten to write any dialogue in there. Did you see that last issue? Man …

Were I to splurge, it’d almost feel greedy after this week of bounty. Nonetheless, I’d grab The Spider, Vol. 1: Terror of The Zombie Queen (Dynamite, $19.99), the collected edition of the first storyline from David Liss’ revival of the pulp hero that I loved based on the first issue but somehow fell off of before the end of that first arc for reasons that escape me. Definitely curious to revisit it.

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What Are You Reading? with Joshua Williamson

Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we welcome special guest Joshua Williamson, writer of Masks and Mobsters, Captain Midnight (which has been running in Dark Horse Presents), Uncharted, Voodoo and much more.

To see what Joshua and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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What Are You Reading? with Chris Wisnia

Doc Savage: Dust of Death

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Chris Wisnia, creator of the Doris Danger books.

To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Food or Comics? | Avocados or Avengers

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Avengers #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d start out with Legend of Luther Strode #1 (Image, $3.50). I was behind the times on the first series, but now I will raise my fist to the air and decree “NO MORE!” (to the stunned silence of my local comic shop owner). Justin Jordan really brought a different take on this story, but for me the sizzle on this is Tradd Moore’s art. It reminds me of Sam Keith’s middle-period during his Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine run, and that’s nothing but a good thing. After that I’d get Stumptown #4 (Oni Press, $3.99). Some might compare Dex’s journey to that of Jessica Jones in Marvel’s Alias, but it’s anything but. Greg Rucka really knows how to make a story feel more than just mere fiction. My third pick this week would be Invincible #98 (Image, $2.99), seeing Mark Grayson get his powers back – just in time to be stomped into the ground, from the looks of it. Reading this series since the first issue, I’m noticing the colorist change more and more here; John Rauch definitely is a step removed from FCO Plascencia, and I’m still getting used to it. Kirkman and Ottley are delivering here so well that Domino’s should be jealous. (ba-dum CHING!) Last up in my Wednesday haul would be Avengers #1 (Marvel, $3.99). I’ve noticed in doing Food or Comics for as long as I have how I’ll routinely follow writers but when they manage to get an artist I particularly like I’ll fall over myself trying to get to it. Case in point, this book, with Jonathan Hickman joining forces with Jerome Opeña to kick off a new era for Marvel’s flagship book. I’m all for “Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers,” but I’m even more excited to see Opeña’s take on this.

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Grumpy Old Fan | 43 for 43

The longest journey begins with a single issue

Every week, hard as it may be to believe, I try honestly to offer something I think might interest the larger group of DC Domics superhero readers. However, this week I am invoking a personal privilege. For one thing, with Halloween on a Wednesday (when I usually end up writing these essays), the holiday will more than likely take priority.

The main reason, though, is that today is my birthday, and as you might have guessed from the headline, this year is my 43rd birthday. Therefore, this week I have pulled together an especially memorable DC story and/or issue from each of those years, 1969 through 2012. (Note: They may not always line up with the actual year, but just for simplicity’s sake, all dates are cover dates.) These aren’t necessarily the best or most noteworthy stories of their particular years, but they’ve stuck with me. Besides, while I’ve read a lot of comics from a lot of sources, for whatever reason DC has been the constant. Maybe when I’m 50 I’ll have something more comprehensive.

* * *

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Food or Comics? | Beurre manié or Building Stories

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Building Stories

JK Parkin

If I had $15, I’d start with a couple of Marvel firsts, even though one of them isn’t technically a first issue: Uncanny Avengers #1 ($3.99) and Red She-Hulk #58 ($2.99). This is the first week of Marvel NOW, and they’re starting with books by creative teams I’m excited about. Next I’d get Stumptown V2 #2 ($3.99) and wind things up with the Halloween Eve one-shot. I actually supported the Kickstarter for the latter, so my copy is probably already on the way to my mailbox, but hypothetically let’s assume that it wasn’t. It’s by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder, two creators whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past. So if it wasn’t coming to me in the mail, it would come home in a paper bag from the comic shop.

If I had $30, I’d add an outgoing Marvel title (Marvel THEN?), Fantastic Four #611, which features the end of Hickman’s run before he moves on to Avengers and Matt Fraction takes over the first family of Marveldom. Next I’d grab Green Lantern Corps #13 ($2.99) as I like the direction the GL books have been headed in lately, and Conan #9 ($3.50), the second half of Brian Wood’s collaboration with Vasilis Lolos. Finally, I’d grab Point of Impact #1 ($2.99), the new crime book by Jay Faerber and Koray Kuranel.

This is a splurge in price only; if I had $50, then Chris Ware’s Building Stories would definitely have been at the top of my buy list this week. It’s a big box of little comics, as Chris put it, and as luck would have it I really do have $50 in gift certificates that I got for my birthday to buy it with. Thanks Mom and Dad!

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What Are You Reading? with Jay Faerber

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s been on our nightstands lately. Our guest this week is Jay Faerber, writer of Dynamo 5, Near Death and Noble Causes. The second Near Death trade just came out this week, and his new comic, Point of Impact, comes out Oct. 10.

To see what Jay and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Quote of the Day | ‘I’ve reached the end of my work for hire rope’

“I’ve reached the end of my work for hire rope. I’m enjoying The Punisher, but that’s not mine, it’s Marvel’s, and l knew that going in. I have spent a lot of my comics career in service of other masters, – and I’ve had enough of that for now. I’m sick to death of the way the Big Two treat people. I gave seven very good years to DC and they took gross advantage of me. That’s partially my fault, but not entirely. At this point, I see no reason why I should have to put up with that, I can sink or swim on my own. [...] My run on Punisher ends on #16, and we are then doing a five-issue mini called War Zone and then I’m done. That’s it! The Powers-That-Be at Marvel, without talking to me, decreed that he’s going to join a team on another book. That’s their choice, they own him, but I don’t have to be happy about it. I am glad I had the opportunity to work on the character and I’m proud of the work I’ve done. Despite what the publishers say, their interest in the talent is minimal now, the interest is only in promoting the financial worth of their properties. That was not the case as of two or three years ago, when there was an ‘exclusives war,’ but that’s all gone by the wayside now. Ultimately, they are saying, “We don’t need you,’ because they can get a million more just like you.”

Greg Rucka, from the new issue of Mark Millar’s CLiNT magazine, discussing creator-ownership and moving on from Marvel and DC Comics


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